wisdom of the crowds ….

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations, published in 2004, is a book written by James Surowiecki about the aggregation of information in groups, resulting in decisions that, he argues, are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group. The book presents numerous case studies and anecdotes to illustrate its argument, and touches on several fields, primarily economics and psychology.

Surowiecki presented a session entitled Independent Individuals and Wise Crowds, or Is It Possible to Be Too Connected?

The question for all of us is, how can you have interaction without information cascades, without losing the independence that’s such a key factor in group intelligence?

He recommends:

  • Keep your ties loose.
  • Keep yourself exposed to as many diverse sources of information as possible.
  • Make groups that range across hierarchies.

Tim O’Reilly and others also discuss the success of Google, wikis, blogging, and Web 2.0 in the context of the wisdom of crowds.

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